December 06, 2007
On this day:


Aaron Fotheringham (born November 8, 1991 in Las Vegas, Nevada) is a wheelchair athlete, or 'wheelchair skateboarder' who performs tricks adapted from skateboarding and BMX.

Fotheringham calls his racing style ‘hardcore sitting’. He is famed for being the first person to successfully perform a back flip in a wheelchair at the age of 14. He performs other tricks in his wheelchair including a 180 degree 'aerial'. He plans to fuse the back flip with the 180 aerial into what is known as a ‘flair’.

Fotheringham has Spina Bifida; he has used a wheelchair since the age of three and although he used crutches early on, he has been in a wheelchair fulltime since the age of eight. He would watch his brother riding his BMX at the skate park and one day his brother told him that he should try riding his chair in the park. Aaron later noted that “I did, and I was hooked”.

Fotheringham got a new wheelchair, a Colours In Motion's Boing!" which was both lightweight and featured four wheel suspension. This enabled him to perform the same sorts of tricks that skateboarders and BMXers can do as the suspension cushioned his landings. Aaron has further worked with Colours Wheelchairs to help refine their designs in real-world situations, and has been given a custom-made chair that is in his words ‘pretty much indestructible’.

He now competes in the Vegas Am Jam series in skate park competitions usually competing against BMX riders. He placed fourth in the intermediate BMX division in a competition held at Sunny Springs Skate Park on August 26, 2006.

Fotheringham advises others attempting to try these tricks to wear a helmet; he has suffered several injuries performing these tricks including a broken elbow. He tries out new tricks by performing them first into cushions. Then he graduates to a ‘rezi’, a harder plastic sheet over the cushions, before attempting the new trick on a regular skateboard ramp.

When asked about having to practice, Fotheringham responded "I don’t think of it as practice, I think of it as a fun way to live my life".

Aaron is obviously a kid who knows how to have fun but I think that he is truly inspirational with his outlook on life in the face of adversity.

Watch Aaron perform his wheelchair backflip.

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